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August 8, 2013

Movie Review: Ms .45 (1981)

When Jeff Dolniak asked for my email address, I expected to be spammed and harassed with ads for constipation meds, erectile dysfunction, and furry enthusiasts. To my complete surprise, I was presented with a link to the remastered 1981 revenge film, Ms .45.

Ms .45 stars Zoe Tamerlis as Thana, a mute girl working as a seamstress in New York. She’s a rather shy and reserved young lady and while her coworkers/friends go off for a drink after work, she heads home via the grocery store. She’s jumped by a masked man hiding in an alley. At gunpoint he rapes her over some garbage cans then runs away. Thana stumbles home in a stupor only to discover another man has broken into her apartment. Robber turns rapist and she is violated AGAIN. How much bad luck can one poor girl have? Damn.

While the new rapist is in the throes of ecstasy (and by throes I mean lackluster thrusts - I’ve seen amoebas going through binary fission having better orgasms than this guy) he drops his gun - not a euphemism - and she hits him upside the head with a glass tchotchke. While he recovers, she grabs her iron and bashes his skull in.

Now what? She can’t have people knowing she’s got a dead body in her apartment, particularly her nosy obnoxious buttinsky neighbor and her little dog. So garbage bags + kitchen knife = solution. She chops and bags the perp up and stores him in her fridge for later disposal. And she’s actually quite clever about it. Each time she leaves her apartment, she puts a part in a bag and dumps it in various locations throughout the city: a bus terminal locker, a homeless woman’s grocery cart, a guy’s trunk as he packs for a trip back to Georgia.

Though she does all this methodically, she’s visibly shaken and tormented. At first. But once she’s gotten that taste for vengeance, something in her brain clicks over and she starts to see every man as a potential monster. Once she has killed her third victim, she dolls herself up like a runway model, or hooker, and her vigilante persona is complete. At this point Thana is gone and the only thing left is her need to kill all the bad guys who cross her path. Or, as it turns out in the end, all guys. Who can blame her, though? Every man in this movie is portrayed as a skeevy animalistic douche canoe whose teeny troglodytic brain resides in his shriveled little scrotum.

I demand to be cast in Robert Palmer's videos!

There’s only one way this can all end but I won’t give you the specifics because it’s just soooo metaphor that I had to roll my eyes and simulate gagging myself with a spoon.

Like I Spit on Your Grave three years prior, this movie is all about a victimized woman taking her brand of vengeance to those who have wronged her. Unlike ISOYG, Thana can only get revenge on one of her attackers. I think because she couldn’t get the first man who raped her, a void opens up inside her that she attempts to fill with the murders of random people. The film doesn’t have the brutality of ISOYG (she simply shoots the shit out of all her vics with a .45 caliber gun - hence the title) but I guarantee you the story is something every woman could relate to if something similar happened to her. Don’t lie to yourselves, ladies. You’re only human and all men are pigs.

Zoe Tamerlis was brilliant. Because she played a mute character, she had to rely on facial expressions, eye movements, and body language to convey everything. It’s seems much more difficult to portray someone having a mental breakdown when she couldn’t scream obscenities or yell about what happened to her that pushed her over the edge. I felt a terrible sadness as she wept in her bathroom after being raped twice; I actually jumped in fear with her when she ‘saw’ the image of the first rapist in the mirror; and I could actually experience the exact moment when her mind snapped.

Sr. Mary Off Her Fucking Rocker

And that’s everything good in this flick. The acting is terrible. The neighbor’s dog got second billing for cripe’s sake! That pretty much tells you everything right there. I’m not sure who’s in charge of how films look but I think they tried too hard to be artsy-fartsy. Thana’s dream sequences were full of cheesy effects. The party scene with all the slo-mo bullshit was goofy. The final death set-up was so beyond metaphor as to zip past artistic, sail right on by obvious, and go straight into gob smacking farce.

But where the movie really lost me? During the party there are several close ups of the band. They focus on the trumpeter a lot as he wails away. Unfortunately, the music overplaying the scene is coming from a saxophone not a trumpet. Maybe a newbie movie goer doesn't give a shit but as a musician, I’m totally offended. The devil’s in the details, you ass hats!

The movie does look good with the remastering but it’s wasted on a flick lacking in substance.

2 hatchets (out of 5)

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